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The Morning Program with Carl Grapentine
Mondays - Fridays, 5:58 am - 10:00 am
Keeping up with Carl Grapentine is a little like “Where’s Waldo.” Some people know him as a church musician. Others catch his pre-performance lectures at Symphony Center and Lyric Opera. Still others hear him calling plays for 100,000 football fans at Michigan Stadium. Each day, it’s Carl’s joie de vivre that lights up The Morning Program on WFMT. He’ll report the headlines, what the weather’s doing, and who won the big game (including the winning team’s fight song), and – of course – he’ll play Bach. In short, The Morning Program with Carl Grapentine is as essential to Chicago as that first cup of coffee.
Click here for Carl's Christmas Day 2012 playlist.
Carl's Morning Program Quiz
Friday, May 24
Today is the birthday of the French conductor and composer Paul Paray, born in 1886. He is best-remembered for his tenure as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1951-1962—and for the recordings he made for Mercury. During the last years of his tenure in Detroit, his concertmaster was a well-known violinist who joined the orchestra after the disbanding of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Who was Toscanini’s concertmaster who concluded his career with the Detroit Symphony?
Answer: Mischa Mischakoff.
Thursday, May 23
We just heard several selections--a song, an orchestral work, and an excerpt--from Shakespeare's play The Tempest. The main character, Prospero, is a sorcerer who lives on an island. But before the play begins, Prospero is overthrown from his previous position. What was Prospero's former position?
Answer: Duke of Milan.
Wednesday, May 22
Today is the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner, born in Leipzig in 1813. His career took him to several German cities, but also to Riga, Latvia and Paris. He also lived in Switzerland for many years because he was barred from Germany for his political views. Wagner died in 1883, a few months short of his 70th birthday. Where did he die?
Answer: Venice, while on vacation. He is buried in Bayreuth.
Tuesday, May 21
Who is he? It may surprise you to know that Ludwig van Beethoven thought he was the greatest composer who ever lived. And Franz Josef Haydn proclaimed him "the master of us all." To whom were they referring?
Answer: George Frideric Handel.
Monday, May 20
Several of Tchaikovsky's symphonies have nicknames--#2 is the Little Russian; #3 is the Polish; #6 is the Pathetique. What is the nickname of Tchaikovsky's first symphony?
Answer: Winter Dreams.
Friday, May 17
One of the great voices of the 20th century, the Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson was born on this date 95 years ago. She once was asked what the secret was to singing the role of Richard Wagner’s Isolde. What was her response?
Answer: "Comfortable shoes!"
Thursday, May 16
Igor Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto was composed in 1946. It was premiered by a famous clarinetist and bandleader in 1946 in Carnegie Hall in New York. Who commissioned and first performed Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto?
Answer: Woody Herman (and his orchestra).
Wednesday, May 15
The English composer and conductor John Lanchbery was born 90 years ago today, in 1923; he died in 2003. He is best known for his ballet music and his ballet arrangements. One of his most successful scores was written for a1970 filmed ballet. Characters in that ballet include Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Peter Rabbit. What is the name of the ballet?
Answer: Tales of Beatrix Potter.
Tuesday, May 14
Most of Felix Mendelssohn’s symphonies have nicknames. #2 is the Song of Praise. #3 is the Scottish. #4 is the Italian. What is the nickname of #5...and why?
Answer: The Reformation Symphony because it quotes Martin Luther’s chorale Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott—A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
Monday, May 13
Sir Arthur Sullivan was born on this date in 1842. We just heard some of his concert music and a brief excerpt from a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta. During his lifetime, Sir Arthur was equally well known as the composer of a popular hymn. Officially, the hymn tune is titled St. Gertrude, but it's most often sung to lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould. What is the name of this Victorian Era hymn?
Answer: Onward, Christian Soldiers.
Friday, May 10
The English conductor Sir Colin Davis passed away last month. Sir Colin's greatest association was with the London Symphony Orchestra which he first conducted in 1959. During his career he also gained appointments with the BBC SO, the Bavarian Radio SO, the Sadlers’ Wells Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. And he was a regular guest at the Boston SO and the NY Philharmonic. But before his career as a conductor, a younger Colin studied as an instrumentalist. What was his instrument?
Thursday, May 9
Another who am I? I was born on this date in 1914. I was Music Director at La Scala in the 1950s and spent most of the 1960s as a guest conductor and making many recordings. I was Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during the first decade of the Solti Era, and I later became Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Who am I?
Answer: Carlo Maria Giulini.
Wednesday, May 8
Louis Moreau Gottschalk was born on this date in 1829. The son of a London businessman and a Creole mother, Gottschalk is best-remembered as a composer and a virtuoso pianist. At the age of 13 he went to Europe to study but was turned down by the Paris Conservatory because of his nationality. He spent most of the rest of his short life in Central America and South America, dying at the age of 40 in Rio de Janeiro. Where was Gottschalk born 184 years ago today?
Answer: New Orleans.
Tuesday, May 7
Johannes Brahms and Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky—those twin pillars of Romanticism—were both born on this date...Brahms in 1833, Tchaikovsky in 1840. They both were proficient in many different genres of music. Brahms specialized more in symphonic, choral, and piano music. Tchaikovsky in symphonic music, ballets and operas. All of their symphonies are in the standard repertoire. Together...how many completed symphonies did they compose?
Answer: 10—4 by Brahms, 6 by Tchaikovsky.
Monday, May 6
Who am I? I was born on yesterday’s date in 1915. I was an Academy Award-winning actor, director, writer, and producer. I was known not only for films, but for my work on radio, stage, and even television. In a 2002 British Film Institute poll, I was chosen the greatest film director of all-time. I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who am I?
Answer: Orson Welles.
Friday, May 3
Shakespeare's play Henry VIII will be staged this coming season by Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The play includes a song about a legendary musician from Greek antiquity. Who is the musician?
Answer: Orpheus. The song is Orpheus with his Lute.
Thursday, May 2
Serge Prokofiev was commissioned by the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow to compose a musical symphony for children. He wrote the story and the music for Peter and the Wolf in just four days. The premiere was on this date in 1936. What character does the bassoon depict in Peter and the Wolf?
Answer: Peter's Grandfather.
Wednesday, May 1
Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro had its premiere on this date in 1786 in Vienna. In Act II of Figaro, the Count Almaviva—who usually addresses the Countess with very formal manners—calls her by her given name. What is the Countess' first name?
Answer: Rosina, as we now know from The Barber of Seville.
Tuesday, April 30
Franz Lehar, best known for his operettas and waltzes, was born on this date in 1870—he lived until 1948. His most successful operetta was The Merry Widow, dating from 1905. Many of Lehar’s later shows featured tenor Richard Tauber in leading roles. This morning, you heard Richard Tauber sing Lehar’s Dein is mein ganzes Herz which comes from what operetta?
Answer: The Land of Smiles.
Monday, April 29
Today, April 29, is quite a day for conductors’ birthdays. Sir Malcolm Sargent, Zubin Mehta, and Sir Thomas Beecham were all born on this date. Put them in order—oldest first.
Answer: Thomas Beecham, 1879; Malcolm Sargent, 1895; Zubin Mehta, 1936.
Friday, April 26
Gaetano Donizetti composed three operas—sometimes referred to as The Three Queens—dealing with the Tudor period in English history. The operas are Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and...name the third.
Answer: Roberto Devereux, named for a supposed lover of Queen Elizabeth I.
Thursday, April 25
On this date in 1926, Arturo Toscanini was conducting an opera at La Scala in Milan. But in the middle of Act III, he stopped, laid down his baton, and said to the audience: “Here the opera ends, because at this point the maestro died.” What opera was he conducting—title and composer, please.
Answer: Turandot by Puccini, who had died two years earlier, leaving the opera unfinished.
Wednesday, April 24
Yesterday was Shakespeare’s birthday and St. George’s Day, so we were “all thing English.” It was also the anniversary of the day in 1792 that Rouget de Lisle was told that the French soldiers needed a stirring patriotic song. He fell asleep that night with words and music in his head. And the next morning he sang it through for the first time. What is the name of this stirring song that became the French national anthem?
Answer: La Marseillaise.
Tuesday, April 23
It’s the Birthday of the Bard and we’ve been celebrating all morning long. Earlier we played several settings of Shakespeare’s text “It was a lover and his lass.” In what play do those lyrics appear?
Answer: As You Like It.
Monday, April 22
Johann Sebastian Bach was elected the Cantor of Leipzig on this date in 1723. But he was far from the first choice of the town council. Name at least one of the composers who were offered the position before they had to “settle” on Bach.
Answer: Georg Philip Telemann, Christoph Graupner.
Monday, April 1
Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, was the last big league park to install lights. The first night game took place August 8, 1988. But Wrigley was the very first big league park to use another electronic device that became standard in ballparks across the country. What device was first employed at Wrigley Field on April 26, 1941?
Answer: A ballpark organ
Friday, March 29
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1903 in Bohemia. As a child prodigy, I was sent to Vienna at the age of 9 and made my solo debut with the Vienna Philharmonic when I was 12. My U.S. solo debut was with the NY Philharmonic and Toscanini in 1936. I taught several generations of pianists at the Curtis Institute, and I also founded one of the most famous of classical music festivals and schools. My son also became a famous pianist. Who am I?
Answer: Rudolf Serkin
Thursday, March 28
The English composer Sir William Walton was born on this date in 1902. He is remembered for a wide variety of compositions, from symphonic and choral works to chamber music, film scores, and two coronation marches--"Crown Imperial" and "Orb and Sceptre." Name the two British monarchs for whom the coronation marches were composed.
Answer: "Crown Imperial"--George VI; "Orb and Sceptre"--Elizabeth II
Wednesday, March 27
Today is the birthday of the Russian cellist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, born in 1927. Rostropovich either commissioned or was the recipient of compositions by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Britten, Messiaen, Lutoslawski, Berio, Penderecki, Khachaturian and others. In 1977, his friend Leonard Bernstein wrote an overture titled "Slava"--which is both the Russian word for "glory," and Rostropovich's nickname. What was the occasion for which the piece was written?
Answer: Rostropovich becoming Music Director of the National Symphony of Washington D.C.
Tuesday, March 26
The French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez—who is also Conductor Emeritus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—was born on this date in 1925; he is 88 years old today. Always "cutting edge" as a composer, his conducting style is described as "spare" and "economical." As a conductor, he has a few idiosyncrasies: he eschews white tie and tails in favor of a plain tuxedo. Another has to do with the physical act of conducting an orchestra. What is this Boulez custom?
Answer: He uses no baton, conducting with hands only.
Monday, March 25
The Hungarian pianist and composer Bela Bartok was born on this date in 1881. As a piano teacher at the Royal Academy in Budapest, his pupils included Fritz Reiner, Georg Solti, and Lili Kraus. He emigrated to the U.S.–where he was better known as a pianist than a composer—during WWII but had difficulty finding an audience for his music. His countrymen Josef Szigeti and Fritz Reiner persuaded Serge Koussevitsky to commission what became Bartok’s most famous work the Concerto for Orchestra. What is the name of Bartok's only opera?
Answer: Bluebeard's Castle, composed in 1911.
Friday, March 22
Who am I? I was born in Strasbourg 90 years ago today. During WWII my parents were prisoners at Auschwitz; my mother survived. As a performer, I was known world-wide. As an author, I wrote two books for children: The Alphabet Book and The Counting Book. I also wrote several volumes of poetry, prose, and illustrations. As a teacher, I opened my own school in Paris. I also appeared in several movies—probably most famously when I uttered the only word of dialogue in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie. Who am I?
Answer: French mime and actor Marcel Marceau (deceased, 2007).
Thursday, March 21
Johann Sebastian Bach was born on this date in Eisenach in 1685. Another famous Baroque composer was born 26 days earlier about 80 miles away. But these two composers never met. Who was the other composer?
Answer: George Frideric Handel.
Wednesday, March 20
It's the first morning of Spring! In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, When birds do sing, hey ding-a-ding ding, Sweet lovers love the spring! That text by Shakespeare which has been set by so many composers—many of which we heard last hour—appears in what play?
Answer: As You Like It.
Tuesday, March 19
Who am I? I was born on yesterday's date in 1950 in Queens, New York. I entered Juilliard at the age of 18 and at 24 I became the youngest conductor ever engaged for a regular NY Philharmonic concert. I also conducted the Metropolitan Opera on tour in my mid-20s. My posts have included the Cologne Opera, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Paris Opera, and the Van Cliburn Competition. My current posts include the Los Angeles Opera, and a summer music festival near Chicago. Who am I?
Answer: James Conlon, 63 years old yesterday.
Monday, March 18
Today is the birthday of the Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, born in 1844. Best remembered for orchestral works such as Capriccio Espagnol, Russian Easter Overture, and Scheherazade, he was also a prolific composer of operas—which are not as often performed in the West. Shortly after his death, one of his private students dedicated a short orchestral work to Rimsky's daughter on the occasion of her wedding. Who was the student AND what was the piece?
Answer: Igor Stravinsky's Fireworks.
Friday, March 15
Today is March 15—the Ides of March. In ancient times, the Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars celebrated with a military parade. It is also known as the day on which Julius Caesar was murdered in the Roman Senate in 44 B.C. What Baroque composer wrote an Italian opera about Julius Caesar?
Answer: Handel, the opera Giulio Cesare.
Thursday, March 14
Johann Strauss Sr. was born on this date in 1804. His son, Johann Jr. followed him into the family music business and became even more famous than his father. And even though Johann Junior's music is a mainstay of each year's New Year's Day concert in Vienna, a work by his father closes each year's concert. What is it?
Answer: The Radetzky March.
Wednesday, March 13
The Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam is one of the world's finest orchestras. It officially became the Royal Concertgebouw in 1988 by decree of Queen Beatrix. Mariss Jansons is the orchestra's current Music Director. But an earlier conductor is credited with making the orchestra a world-class ensemble. Who was conductor of the Concertgebouw from 1895-1941? (!)
Answer: Willem Mengelberg.
Tuesday, March 12
Who am I? I was born 264 years ago this week in Venice. Jewish by birth, I was ordained a Roman Catholic priest—until being banished for taking a mistress. I was Court Poet to Emperor Joseph II of Austria and later moved to Prague and London before fleeing to America to escape my creditors. In NY, I gave Italian lessons, opened a grocery store and a book store. I became Professor of Italian Literature at Columbia University. I am buried in Queens, NY, but am best remembered for being the librettist for three famous operas. Who am I?
Answer: Lorenzo da Ponte—librettist for Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, and Don Giovanni.
Monday, March 11
It was on this date in 1829 that the Bach Revival began. Most of his music had been unperformed and unheard since his death almost 80 years earlier. But a 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn organized and conducted a performance of Bach's epic masterpiece The St. Matthew Passion. It was such a sensation that two more performances were scheduled immediately. Where—in what city—did these concerts take place?
Friday, March 8
Today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of American composer Alan Hovhaness. Of Armenian and Scottish ancestry, Hovahaness was among the most prolific of 20th century composers. His official catalogue lists 67 numbered symphonies and 434 opus numbers. One of his most famous works is his symphony #2, composed in the 1950, which bears what nickname?
Answer: Mysterious Mountain.
Thursday, March 7
Today is the birthday of French composer Maurice Ravel— born in the Basque town of Ciboure in 1875. Late in his career he wrote Bolero, originally titled Fandango. He called it, "an experiment in a very special and limited direction." He also used the phrase, "a piece for orchestra without music." The 1934 Hollywood film Bolero, starring Carole Lombard and George Raft made use of Ravel's theme. What 1979 romantic comedy film actually mentioned Ravel’s composition as part of the dialogue?
Answer: 10 starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews, and Bo Derek.
Wednesday, March 6
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1930 in France, but did not live there for long. I was a child prodigy as a conductor—making my debut at the age of 8 and conducting the NBC Symphony at 11. I have had one of the most wide-ranging of conducting careers. My posts have included the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna St. Opera, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. Recently I stepped in to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on tour in the Far East. Who am I?
Answer: Lorin Maazel.
Tuesday, March 5
Two legendary former 1st-chair players of the Chicago Symphony were born on this date: cellist Frank Miller, 101 years ago and horn player Philip Farkas, born 99 years ago. Another famous horn player was born on this date. He was born in Australia—his career was mostly in England—and then he taught and lived in Baltimore for several years. Who is this horn virtuoso born in 1931?
Answer: Barry Tuckwell.
Monday, March 4
Today is the birthday of Antonio Vivaldi—born in Venice in 1678. Vivaldi—composer, violinist, and priest—composed hundreds of concertos, sacred choral works, and more than 40 operas. His best known concertos, the four violin concertos known as The Four Seasons come from a larger set of twelve violin concertos. What is the title of this set of concertos?
Answer: The Contest between Harmony and Invention.
Friday, March 1
Frederic Chopin was born in Poland on this date in 1810. Virtually all of his compositions were for piano. Alexander Glazunov was the first to orchestrate Chopin’s music to be danced. A full-length ballet, based on Chopin, was premiered by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes on June 2, 1909 in Paris. What was the name of that ballet?
Answer: Les Sylphides.
Thursday, February 28
Thirty years ago tonight, one of the most-watched episodes in the history of American television was aired. The opening movement of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet figured prominently in the score of the show—and in the plot of that episode. What television program was aired 30 years ago tonight?
Answer: The final episode of M*A*S*H.
Wednesday, February 27
The English composer Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry was born on this date in 1848—165 years ago. He was director of the Royal College of Music from 1895 until his death in 1918 and was also professor of music at Oxford. He is best remembered for his coronation anthem I Was Glad, the hymn tune Repton, and for a setting of a William Blake poem that is considered a second national anthem in England. What is this anthem by Parry?
Tuesday, February 26
Today is the birthday of the French poet, novelist, and dramatist Victor Hugo, born in 1802. At Sunday's Academy Awards, a film of a musical based on a Victor Hugo novel was nominated for 8 Oscars. AND...an opera based on Victor Hugo is currently running at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Name the musical and the opera.
Answer: Les Miserables and Verdi's Rigoletto.
Monday, February 25
Today is the birthday of the English pianist, Dame Myra Hess, born in 1890. The International Music Foundation has presented the Dame Myra Hess Concerts in Chicago for almost 36 years. A few weeks ago, the IMF brought the play Admission—One Shilling to Preston Bradley Hall. Who played the role of Dame Myra?
Answer: Lesley Nicol—also known as Mrs. Patmore on Downton Abbey.
Friday, February 22
Today is George Washington’s birthday, born February 22, 1732. Washington was born about five weeks before a famous classical composer—a composer who died the year Abraham Lincoln was born. Who is this composer?
Answer: Franz Josef Haydn, 1732-1809.
Thursday, February 21
The Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia was born on this date in 1893—120 years ago. He is considered the major figure in granting respectability to the guitar as a serious concert instrument. His contribution to the modern repertoire not only includes commissions but also his own transcriptions of classical or baroque works. One work written for Andres Segovia has a title that translates: "Fantasia for a Gentleman." Who composed that work?
Answer: Joaquin Rodrigo.
Wednesday, February 20
Rossini's comic opera The Barber of Seville had its premiere on this date in 1816 in Rome. One of the most popular of operas for almost 200 years, Barber is on Lyric Opera's schedule for next season. Who will be singing the title role of Figaro, the barber?
Answer: American baritone Nathan Gunn.
Tuesday, February 19
Violinist Gil Shaham was born on this date in 1971— he's 42 today. He began his violin studies at the age of 7 in Jerusalem and was invited to play for Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, and Henryk Szeryng. He made his Israel Philharmonic debut at the age of 10 and was admitted to the Juilliard School at the age of 11. He received the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990— when he was 19 years old. Where was Gil Shaham born?
Answer: Urbana, Illinois, when his parents, Israeli scientists, were on an academic fellowship at the Univ-IL.
Monday, February 18
The Czech film director Milos Forman— who became an American citizen in 1977— was born on this date in 1932. He is known for directing films on a wide range of topics. He filmed the rock musical Hair in 1979— and next directed Amadeus which won 8 Academy Awards. His first big success came in 1975 when his film swept the top five categories in the Academy Awards— Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay. What was this film by Milos Forman?
Answer: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Friday, February 15
Today is the birthday of the German composer Michael Praetorius, born in 1571. One of the most versatile composers of his age, he was important in the development of musical forms based on Protestant hymns. What is the name of his 1612 collection of more than 300 dances?
Thursday, February 14
A Valentine's Day question: when Duke Orsino says, "If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die," in what Shakespeare play is he speaking?
Answer: Twelfth Night.
Wednesday, February 13
Lyric Opera of Chicago last week announced its repertoire for the coming 2013-14 season. The operetta offering around the holiday season will be Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr. Act II of Die Fledermaus takes place at a ball at the palace of what character?
Answer: Prince Orlofsky.
Tuesday, February 12
Today is the anniversary of the premiere of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, February 12, 1924 at Aeolian Hall in New York. The rhapsody was barely completed by the night of the performance. Gershwin improvised some of the piano solo and the orchestra—more of a dance band—played the connecting material. Later, when Gershwin created a final version, he had the dance band parts orchestrated by Ferde Grofe. What was the orchestra that gave the first performance of Rhapsody in Blue?
Answer: The Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
Monday, February 11
I share my February 11 birthday with one classical musician, the Czech pianist Rudolf Firkusny. More than twenty years ago Mr. Firkusny was the unlikely co-star of a commercial featuring basketball star David Robinson. What product was promoted by the commercial?
Friday, February 8
Composer and conductor John Williams is 81 years old today. One of the most prolific of film composers, he composed music for the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T., Jurassic Park and many more. He has written scores for four Olympic Games, NBC News, the rededication of the Statue of Liberty, and President Obama’s first inauguration. One of his five Academy Awards came for a score in which Itzhak Perlman played the solo violin part in the soundtrack. What was that film?
Answer: Schindler's List.
Thursday, February 7
Over the weekend was the birthday of Felix Mendelssohn—born in Hamburg in 1809—and we still have a Mendelssohn Immersion coming up this weekend. Although he lived only to the age of 38, he wrote symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music, and chamber music. From 1845-1847, Mendelssohn was the Music Director of what major orchestra?
Answer: The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Wednesday, February 6
Queen Anne of England, the last monarch of the House of Stuart, was born on this date in 1665. Who composed an "Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne" which likened Anne to the rising of the sun?
Answer: G.F. Handel.
Tuesday, February 5
After composing Aida, Giuseppe Verdi retired to his farm—for 16 years, anyway. But he was lured out of retirement in 1887 to write an opera based on a Shakespeare drama. A few years later he composed one more Shakespearean opera. What were Verdi's final two operas?
Answer: Otello and Falstaff.
Monday, February 4
Name the Grammy-winning singer who played the piano and sang the Nation Anthem at last evening's Super Bowl XLVII?
Answer: Alicia Keys.
Friday, February 1
Puccini's opera La Boheme—currently playing at Lyric Opera of Chicago—had its premiere on this date in 1896 in Turin. Puccini had already had a success in Manon Lescaut, but Boheme made him rich and famous. The world premiere, 117 years ago today, was entrusted to a 28-year old conductor. Who was he?
Answer: Arturo Toscanini (You would know that if you've attended one of Carl's pre-opera Boheme lectures at Lyric Opera!).
Thursday, January 31
Franz Schubert was born on this date in 1797. Although he lived only until the age of 31, he composed almost one-thousand works—more than 600 songs, 7 complete symphonies, the Unfinished Symphony, and a sketch of a 9th. Piano works include 21 sonatas plus many shorter pieces. There are 30 chamber works, 6 Masses, and 5 operas. Schubert was also the member of a famous performing group—as were conductors Hans Richter, Felix Mottl, and Clemens Krauss in their time. In what ensemble did all of these musicians perform at some point?
Answer: The Vienna Boys Choir.
Wednesday, January 30
Cellist Lynn Harrell was born on this date in New York in 1944. Son of the great baritone Mack Harrell, Lynn was the winner of the very first Avery Fisher Prize which he shared with Murray Perahia. Even earlier in his career, he was named principal cellist of a major symphony orchestra? What was the orchestra?
Answer: The Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the orchestra in 1962 at the age of 18. He became principal cellist two years later.
Tuesday, January 29
The English composer Frederick Delius was born on this date in 1862. Delius wrote a rhapsody for orchestra based on an English folk song—a song that begins with the words, "It was on the 5th of August." What is the name of the song/rhapsody?
Answer: Brigg Fair.
Monday, January 28
A famous composer once said to another composer— "I tell you before God and as an honest man, your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name." A three part question: Who said it...to whom did he say it...and about whom was he speaking?
Answer: Haydn...Leopold Mozart...Wolfgang Mozart.
Friday, January 25
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is currently on tour in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and Korea. Conductors Osmo Vanska and Lorin Maazel are substituting for Music Director Riccardo Muti who is undergoing surgery. In 1949, the CSO offered its principal conductor post to a German conductor. But the orchestra was forced to rescind the offer under the threat of boycott from several prominent musicians. Who was offered the CSO post in 1949?
Answer: Wilhelm Furtwangler, whose decision to remain in Germany during WWII caused criticism and scrutiny.
Thursday, January 24
Today is a special edition of the WFMT Morning Program with our studio audience and breakfast from Tre Kronor. I’ve been the host of the Morning Program since 1996. For the seven years before that, Jim Unrath hosted mornings. But before that, WFMT employed a rotating schedule with each announcer hosting one morning per week. What is the name of the WFMT announcer from the early years who is credited with writing the WFMT Announcer Audition?
Answer: Mike Nichols.
Wednesday, January 23
The Russian film maker Sergei Eisenstein was born on this date in 1898 and lived only until the age of 50. Classical music lovers are familiar with Prokofiev's score for Eisenstein's epic film Alexander Nevsky. Prokofiev also wrote the score for an unfinished trilogy of films by Eisenstein about another figure of Russian history. Who was the subject of the film left unfinished at Eisenstein's death?
Answer: Ivan the Terrible.
Tuesday, January 22
The great American baritone William Warfield was born on this date in 1920 in Arkansas, but grew up in Rochester, NY where his father was a minister. After a long, successful career as a singer, Mr. Warfield turned to teaching in the last decades of his life. At what two institutions of higher learning in Illinois did Mr. Warfield teach?
Answer: University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana beginning in 1975; then Northwestern University, Evanston beginning in 1994.
Monday, January 21
Tenor Placido Domingo was born on this date in 1941— he's 72 today. One of his best-remembered Chicago performances came during Lyric Opera's Ring cycle in 2005. At the age of 64 (!) he sang the role of Siegmund in Act I of Die Walkure. Who sang Sieglinde?
Answer: Michelle De Young.
Friday, January 18
The French composer Emmanuel Chabrier was born on this date in 1841. Probably his best-known work is the Espana Rhapsody. Emile Waldteufel made a version of Chabrier's piece, the Espana Waltz. And there was also a popular song of the 1950s based on the same tune. What was the name of the song?
Answer: Hot Diggety-Dog-Ziggety Boom, What You Do to Me.
Thursday, January 17
Benjamin Franklin was born on this date in 1706. One of the founding fathers of our country, Franklin was an author, printer, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, statesman, and diplomat—among other things! Franklin is credited with the invention of a musical instrument. What is it?
Answer: The “Glass Armonica” which uses a series of glass bowls of graduated size to produce musical tones.
Wednesday, January 16
The great American singer Marilyn Horne was born on this date in 1934—she's 79 today. She began singing professionally with the Roger Wagner Chorale as a teenager. And she made her movie debut—or, at least, her voice did—at the age of 20. She provided Dorothy Dandridge’s singing voice for a 1954 film starring Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, and Pearl Bailey. What was the film?
Answer: Carmen Jones—which updated Bizet's Carmen to America of the 1940s.
Tuesday, January 15
One encyclopedia entry describes this composition as "Ravel's most straightforward composition in any medium. The music is in C major, 3/4 time, beginning pianissimo and rising in a continuous crescendo to 'fortissimo possibile' (as loud as possible). It is built over an unchanging ostinato rhythm played on one or more snare drums that remains constant throughout the piece." What is this composition?
Monday, January 14
Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Puccini's opera "Tosca." It took place January 14, 1900 in Rome, which is also the setting for the story. The plot revolves around a classic love triangle involving Floria Tosca; Mario Cavaradossi, the painter; and Baron Scarpia, the evil Chief of Police. What is Floria Tosca's occupation?
Answer: An opera singer.
Friday, January 11
The Russian composer Reinhold Gliere was born in Kiev on this date in 1875. He studied at the Kiev School of Music before transferring to the Moscow Conservatory where his teachers included Taneyev, Arensky, and Ippolitov-Ivanov. He later became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. His best-remembered work is a dance from a ballet he first composed in 1927 and then revised twice. Name the dance AND the ballet.
Answer: Russian Sailors Dance from The Red Poppy ballet.
Thursday, January 10
Conductor and composer Jean Martinon was born in on this date in Lyon, France in 1910. As a student at the Paris Conservatory he studied composition with Albert Roussel, conducting with Charles Munch, and harmony with Vincent d'Indy. Jean Martinon was also the eighth Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Who preceded and succeeded Martinon as CSO Music Director?
Answer: Fritz Reiner and Sir Georg Solti.
Wednesday, January 9
Sir Rudolf Bing, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera from 1950-1972, was born on today's date in 1902 in Vienna. The stories of his life in the opera world are contained in his two books: 5,000 Nights at the Opera and A Knight at the Opera. In one famous tale, a prominent Wagnerian soprano tried to claim Rudolf Bing as a dependent on her tax forms! Who was this soprano?
Answer: Birgit Nilsson.
Tuesday, January 8
The Czech-born composer Jaromir Weinberger was born on this date in 1897 in Prague. In 1937 he fled his native country to avoid the Nazis and settled in New York. Weinberger composed more than 100 works, including operas, operettas, choral works, and works for orchestra. However, the only one which is still remembered is an opera about a bagpiper. What is the name of the bagpiper--and the name of the opera?
Answer: Schwanda the Bagpiper.
Monday, January 7
The French composer Francis Poulenc was born on this date in 1899. He composed for solo piano, chamber ensemble, choir, ballet, orchestra, and opera. He was also a member of the group Les Six. Following a life-changing spiritual experience in 1936, Poulenc wrote a great deal of music based on religious themes...including his 1957 opera about nuns sentenced to the guillotine during the French Revolution. What is the name of the opera?
Answer: The Dialogues of the Carmelites.
Friday, January 4
It was on this date in 1881 that the Academic Festival Overture by Brahms had its first performance. Rather than give a speech, Brahms composed the potpourri of student tunes and drinking songs in response to an honorary doctorate conferred on him. What university honored Brahms with the degree?
Answer: University of Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland), Germany.
Thursday, January 3
Gaetano Donizetti's opera buffa Don Pasquale had its premiere on this date in 1843. The first performance took place at the Italian Theatre in Paris. In the recent Lyric Opera production of Don Pasquale, who sang the title role?
Answer: Ildebrando D'Arcangelo.
Wednesday, January 2
As we begin the Wagner Bicentenary year, we have a question about an early Wagner opera. Wagner wrote the libretto and the music and conducted the first performance on this date 170 years ago (1843) at the Semper Oper in Dresden. In his autobiography, Wagner said he was inspired by a stormy sea crossing he made from Riga to London—and the sounds of a stormy ocean are depicted in the opening bars of the overture. What is this opera by Wagner?
Answer: The Flying Dutchman.
Tuesday, January 1
Happy New Year! A new round of quiz questions begins Wednesday, January 2.
Monday, December 31
On this last day of the year, we consider the poem Auld Lang Syne. The Scottish title translates literally as "old long since" or, better, as "long ago" or "days gone by." It's traditionally sung—to an old Scots tune—at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve to mark the passing of another year. Who wrote the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne?
Answer: Robert Burns.
Friday, December 28
Benjamin Britten's opera Billy Budd has an all-male cast. What opera by Puccini has an all-female cast?
Answer: Suor Angelica, one of the three operas of Il Trittico.
Thursday, December 27
The Broadway musical Showboat opened on this date in 1927 at the Ziegfield Theatre in New York. The musical was based on Edna Ferber's bestselling novel of the same name. Jerome Kern wrote the music; who wrote the lyrics?
Answer: Oscar Hammerstein II.
Wednesday, December 26
Ludwig van Beethoven wrote a compositionn n titled "Piano Sonata in c# minor, Op.27 #2—Sonata quasi una fantasia." It's better known by what title?
Answer: Moonlight Sonata.
Friday, December 21
The winter solstice occurred at 5:12 this morning. We’ve been marking the coming of winter with music about the season including Vivaldi’s The Four Seasonsearlier this hour. There are several other compositions about the seasons—including concertos, ballets, arias, songs, and an oratorio. There is also an American pop group called The Four Seasons...and a hotel chain...and an Academy Award-winning movie. Who wrote and directed the 1981 film, The Four Seasons?
Answer: Alan Alda
Thursday, December 20
The play Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus by Helmina von Chezy had its first performance on this date in 1823 at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. The play was a failure and is permanently lost. But the incidental music by Franz Schubert endures. In writing the music, Schubert borrowed the overture from his own unsuccessful opera. What is the name of the opera?
Answer: The Magic Harp
Wednesday, December 19
The former music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner, was born on this date in 1888 in Budapest. In addition to his ten golden years inChicago, Reiner also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera and taught at the Curtis Institute. Between 1922 and 1948, he was also the Principal Conductor or Music Director of two other American orchestras. Name them both.
Answer: Cincinnati SO (1922-1931) and Pittsburgh SO (1938-1948)
Tuesday, December 18
Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker had its premiere on this date in 1892—120 years ago. The first performance was at the Mariinski Theatre in St. Petersburg. It is often noted that the score includes a celesta in the orchestra. Actually, Tchaikovsky had used the celesta in his symphonic poem The Voyevoda even earlier. What character is depicted by the celesta?
Answer: The Sugar Plum Fairy
Monday, December 17
Yesterday was the 242nd anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven is generally credited with being the central figure in the transition from the Classical to the Romantic era. When LvB was in his early 20s he moved to Vienna and stayed there for the rest of his life. Where was Beethoven born in 1770?
Answer: Bonn, Germany
Friday, December 14
Who am I? I was born on this date 101 years ago. My first job as a professional musician was as a percussionist. I later formed my own band and orchestra. I had my own radio show in the 1940s and later appeared on television and in films. I may be remembered for murdering the classics, but I always acknowledged the applause with the phrase "Thank you, music lovers!" Who am I?
Answer: Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones.
Thursday, December 13
Today is WFMT’s birthday. It was 61 years ago today that we first went on the airwaves. Most of the great names in WFMT history joined the station during its first few years: Norm Pellegrini, Studs Terkel, Ray Nordstrand, and so many more. What was the name of the couple that founded WFMT?
Answer: Bernie and Rita Jacobs.
Wednesday, December 12
Today's quiz will be a "name-that-singer" edition...
Answer: Frank Sinatra
Tuesday, December 11
Today is the birthday of the French composer Hector Berlioz, born in 1803. A full-fledged Romantic, and a man ahead of his time, Berlioz is best-remembered for his Symphonie Fantastique, his Requiem, The Damnation of Faust, and his song cycle Les Nuits d’Ete (Summer Nights). A few weeks ago, Les Nuits d’Ete was on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra programs. Who was the soloist?
Answer: Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote
Monday, December 10
The American poet Emily Dickinson was born on this date in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Introverted and reclusive, most of her relationships were via correspondence. Of the 1,800 poems she wrote, fewer than a dozen were published during her lifetime. Aaron Copland set several Emily Dickinson poems to music including "Why do they shut me out of heaven?" In the second line of that poem, the author gives a possible reason for being shut out. What is it?
Answer: Did I sing too loud?
Friday, December 7
America's oldest orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, gave its first performance on this date in 1842— 170 years ago today. The program included Beethoven's 5th Symphony, some chamber music, and several operatic excerpts. Who is the current music director of the New York Philharmonic?
Answer: Alan Gilbert.
Thursday, December 6
Walt Disney was born in Chicago on yesterday's date, December 5, in 1901. One of the great leaps forward in the history of animation was Disney's Fantasia, released in 1940. Seven of the eight segments of Fantasia feature animated stories set to classical music by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Ponchieli, Dukas, Mussorgsky, and Schubert. But one of the segments blended live shots of the orchestra with animated lines, shapes, and patterns that interpreted what piece of music by what composer?
Answer: Bach's Toccata and Fugue in d minor.
Wednesday, December 5
Today is the 221st anniversary of the death of Mozart. He died just 9 weeks after the premiere of the last opera he completed, The Magic Flute. While he was composing Magic Flute, he received a commission for an opera to celebrate the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia. Mozart dashed off this new opera in a very short time, and the premiere took place in September of 1791—3 weeks before the premiere of Magic Flute. What is this opera?
Answer: La Clemenza di Tito.
Tuesday, December 4
A famous composition had its premiere on this date in 1881. In describing the finale, the critic Eduard Hanslick wrote: "We see wild and vulgar faces, we hear curses, we smell bad brandy. [This composition...] brings to us for the first time the horrid idea that there may be music that stinks to the ear." What was the composition?
Answer: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.
Monday, December 3
Lerner and Loewe’s classic Broadway musical Camelot opened on Broadway on this date in 1960. It quickly became a favorite of many—including President-elect John F. Kennedy. The original Broadway cast featured a Welsh actor, a Canadian singer, and an English actress-singer. Name all three.
Answer: Richard Burton, Robert Goulet, Julie Andrews.
Friday, November 30
Today is the birthday of American author and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens—better known as Mark Twain—born on this date in 1835 in the town of Florida, Missouri. Huckleberry Finn, the title character from Twain's great American novel, is also the title of a movement from a suite for symphony orchestra. Name the work and the composer.
Answer: Mississippi Suite by Ferde Grofe.
Thursday, November 29
Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti was born on this date in 1797. Although he lived only until the age of 50, he composed more than 70 operas including The Elixir of Love, The Daughter of the Regiment, and Lucia di Lammermoor. What Donizetti opera is currently playing at Lyric Opera of Chicago?
Answer: Don Pasquale.
Wednesday, November 28
Today is the birthday of French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully—born in Italy as Giovanni Battista Lulli on this date in 1632. He spent most of his career working in the Court of Louis XIV of France. How did Jean-Baptiste Lully die?
Answer: While leading a concert by pounding his staff on the floor to keep time, he struck his own toe which became infected and, eventually, gangrenous. He refused amputation, the gangrene spread, and he died at the age of 54.
Tuesday, November 27
He said it! He said, "The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes." He also said, "Brass bands are all very well in their place—outdoors and several miles away." Also, "A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it." Who said it?
Answer: English conductor and wit Sir Thomas Beecham
Monday, November 26
American composer and critic Virgil Thomson was born on yesterday’s date—November 25, 1896 in Kansas City, Missouri. He lived in Paris from 1925-1940 where his acquaintances included James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, e.e. cummings, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, Jean Cocteau, and Gertrude Stein. Thomson later wrote two operas with Gertrude Stein. Name either one.
Answer: Four Saints in Three Acts or The Mother of Us All
Friday, November 24
The Spanish composer Manuel de Falla was born on this date in 1876. One of his most familiar compositions is known as the Ritual Fire Dance. What is the title of the larger work which includes the Ritual Fire Dance? (in Spanish or in English)
Answer: El Amor Brujo—Love, the Sorcerer (or Magician)
Thursday, November 23
Wednesday, November 22
It was originally composed as a ballet, commissioned by the Russian dancer Ida Rubenstein. It was first performed on tomorrow’s date in 1928 at the Paris Opera. Its composer once called it, "a piece for orchestra without music." What is this composition?
Answer: Maurice Ravel's Bolero
Tuesday, November 21
Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera had its very first performance on this date in 1805 in Vienna. By the time of the first performance, Beethoven was titling the opera Fidelio, although he had originally planned to call it Leonore. In the opera, Leonore, disguised as a man known as Fidelio, rescues her husband from death in a prison. What is the husband's name?
Tuesday, November 20
Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera had its very first performance on this date in 1805 in Vienna. By the time of the first performance, Beethoven was titling the opera Fidelio, although he had originally planned to call it Leonore. In the opera, Leonore, disguised as a man known as Fidelio, rescues her husband from death in a prison. What is the husband's name?
Monday, November 19
The andante movement from Mozart's Piano Concerto #21 in C, K.467 gained worldwide popularity when it was used as the theme of a 1967 Swedish film. What was the name of the film?
Answer: Elvira Madigan
Wednesday, October 31
Witches and goblins and ghosts...oh my! We've had music about all of them this morning. What is the name of the witch from Russian folklore—mentioned in a composition by Liadov and in Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition?"
Answer: Baba Yaga
Tuesday, October 30
Aaron Copland’s ballet “Appalachian Spring” had its premiere on this date in 1944. Written for Martha Graham — and subtitled "Ballet for Martha" — the original scoring of "Appalachian Spring" was for just 13 instruments due to the cramped conditions at the site where the premiere took place. Where was "Appalachian Spring" first performed, 68 years ago today?
Answer: The Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
Monday, October 29
Yesterday was the birthday of American composer Howard Hanson—born in 1897. His Symphony #2, the "Romantic," is his best-known. His Symphony #4, the "Requiem," won a Pulitzer Prize. For 40 years, he was the Director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. But he began his career as a teaching assistant at his alma mater. Where did Howard Hanson attend college?
Answer: Northwestern University.
Friday, October 26
Today is the birthday of Domenico Scarlatti, born in Naples in 1685— the same year as Bach and Handel. He is best-remembered for his more than 500 keyboard sonatas. The name of an American harpsichordist, who published a biography of Scarlatti and a critical edition of his works, is often used to designate and differentiate among the 500+ sonatas much like Köchel numbers for Mozart's works. Who was this keyboard player and scholar?
Answer: Ralph Kirkpatrick.
Thursday, October 25
Today we celebrate two musical birthdays—Johann Strauss Jr. in 1825 and Georges Bizet in 1838. Johann Jr. took over his father’s business as orchestra leader and composer after father’s death. When Johann Jr. died in 1899, he was buried in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof. But the famous golden statue of Johann Jr. is in Vienna’s Stadtpark. That statue depicts Strauss doing what?
Answer: Playing the violin.
Wednesday, October 24
Actor F.Murray Abraham was born on this date in 1939. He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Antonio Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus; Thomas Hulce played the role of the young Mozart. In what film did Thomas Hulce play the role of "Pinto?"
Answer: National Lampoon's Animal House
Tuesday, October 23
Yesterday was Franz Liszt’s birthday—his 201st. Liszt had connections to so many other famous musicians. As a boy he knew Haydn, Hummel, and Beethoven. Later in Vienna, he took piano lessons from Czerny and composition lessons from Salieri. As a young man he met Berlioz—the day before the premiere of the Symphonie Fantastique. He also heard Paganini play and became friends with Chopin and St. Saens. What famous composer became Franz Liszt's son-in-law?
Answer: Richard Wagner
Monday, October 22
Yesterday was the 100th birthday of Sir Georg Solti and we're still celebrating today. Music Director of the CSO from 1969-1991, Solti made his debut at the Budapest Opera March 11, 1938 but it was also his last performance there. That very day, Hitler annexed Austria and anti-Semitism overtook Hungary. Solti's career received a boost when he worked as rehearsal pianist and coach at the Salzburg Festival for a very famous conductor. Who was it?
Answer: Arturo Toscanini
Friday, October 19
One of the great composers in music history was also acclaimed for his keyboard artistry. His reply to the praise was this: "There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Who said it?
Answer: Johann Sebastian Bach.
Thursday, October 18
Music critics have written many unflattering reviews over the years—some instructive, some scathing, some pointed. But one of the best responses to a critic was the following: "What you have said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank." Who said it?
Answer: Wladziu Valentino Liberace.
Wednesday, October 17
Pianist Stephen Kovacevich was born on this date in 1940 in California; he's 72 today. He made his debut at the age of 11. At the age of 18 he moved to London to study with Dame Myra Hess and he has lived in England ever since. Mr. Kovacevich's name is Croatian. But earlier in his career he took his mother’s last name as his professional name. By what name was he originally known?
Answer: Stephen Bishop...then Bishop-Kovacevich.
Tuesday, October 16
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra played its very first concert on this date in 1891. The concert included music by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Dvorak. Where did this concert take place?
Answer: The Auditorium Theater. Orchestra Hall was built in 1904.
Monday, October 15
Who am I? I was born on yesterday's date in 1928 in New York. I began piano at the age of 3 and entered the Curtis Institute at age 7. I made my professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra when I was 19. I then studied with Vladimir Horowitz and Rudolf Serkin. In 1980, I joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute and served as its president for 11 years. My memoir is titled I Really Should Be Practicing. Who am I?
Answer: Pianist Gary Graffman
Friday, October 12
Today is the 140th birthday of Ralph Vaughan Williams. When he was editing The English Hymnal, he came across a very early English tune in the 1567 Psalter. He included it in the new hymnal and wrote a piece for double string orchestra based on the hymn tune. What was this 1910 composition by Vaughan Williams?
Answer: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Thursday, October 11
Today is the birthday of Theodore Thomas—founder and first director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—born in 1835. Twenty years before the founding of the CSO, the Theodore Thomas Orchestra was scheduled to play in Chicago—a concert cancelled by the Chicago Fire. In 1889 a Chicago businessman asked Thomas, "Would you come to Chicago if we gave you a permanent orchestra?" What was Thomas' legendary reply? A paraphrase will do.
Answer: "I would go to Hell if they gave me a permanent orchestra!"
Wednesday, October 10
Giuseppe Verdi was born on this date, 199 years ago. Let the Bicentenary celebration begin! Early in his career, Verdi made an operatic setting of Macbeth by Shakespeare—his favorite writer. Late in his career, Verdi wrote two more operas based on The Bard. Name Verdi's other two Shakespeare operas?
Answer: Otello and Falstaff.
Tuesday, October 9
French composer Camille St. Saens was born in Paris on this date in 1835 and lived all the way to 1921. He was also a conductor, an organist , and a pianist. And he also studied geology, archaeology, and botany. A child prodigy at the keyboard, he learned to read and write at the age of 3 and played a recital at the age of 5! He is best-known for his opera Samson & Delilah, the Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, two piano concertos and three symphonies. What is the nickname of his 3rd symphony?
Answer: The Organ Symphony.
Monday, October 8
The Colonial composer William Billings was born on yesterday's date in 1746 in Boston. Originally a tanner by trade and without formal music training, Billings became known as the Father of American Choral Music. Three of his compositions were orchestrated and made into a suite by a 20th century American composer. Who is the composer and what is the work?
Answer: Willam Schumann--New England Triptych.
Friday, October 5
Today is the anniversary of the debut of the BBC television series "Monty Python’s Flying Circus" — October 5, 1969. What piece of American music served as the theme song for Monty Python?
Answer: The Liberty Bell March by John Philip Sousa.
Thursday, October 4
Today, a short Shakespearean musical question—or perhaps a short musical Shakespeare question. What character in what play speaks the famous line, "If music be the food of love, play on."?
Answer: Orsino in Twelfth Night.
Wednesday, October 3
Who am I? One of my piano sonatas includes a famous funeral march. But on my deathbed, I am supposed to have said, "Play Mozart in memory of me." At my funeral in 1849, a congregation of 3,000 gathered at the church of the Madeleine in Paris. The service included Mozart's Requiem. Who am I?
Answer: Frederic Chopin.
Tuesday, October 2
Sunday was the anniversary of the first performance of Mozart's final opera, The Magic Flute, first performed about six weeks before Mozart's death in 1791. However, there is another opera by Mozart that has a Kochel number "higher" than Magic Flute? What is Mozart's opera K.621?
Answer: La Clemenza di Tito. In August 1791, Mozart was commissioned to write an opera celebrating the coronation of Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia in Prague. He paused during the writing of Magic Flute and dashed off Clemenza in just 18 days.
Monday, October 1
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1865 in Paris. In addition to being a composer, I was a prolific music critic, and I also taught at the Paris Conservatory where my students included Carlos Chavez, Jean Langlais, Olivier Messiaen, and Joaquin Rodrigo. I am best remembered for one famous orchestral poem. But I also wrote an opera about Bluebeard the pirate, and a ballet titled La Peri. Who am I?
Answer: Paul Dukas.
Friday, September 28
Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) had its premiere on this date in 1918 in Switzerland. The Soldier’s Tale is a theatrical work "...to be read, played, and danced" as Stravinsky put it. It tells the classic tale of a man selling his soul to the devil. But in Soldier’s Tale, the man’s soul is represented by something else. What does the soldier sell to the devil?
Answer: His violin.
Thursday, September 27
Yesterday was filled with musical birthdays and anniversaries—today, not so much. Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor had its world premiere on yesterday's date in 1835 at Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Lucia was on last year's Lyric Opera of Chicago schedule. Who sang the title role at Lyric?
Answer: Susanna Phillips, a Ryan Center alum, who will be singing in MOB’s Lord Nelson Mass the first weekend in October.
Wednesday, September 26
Who am I? I was born on today's date in 1930. Today would have been my 82nd birthday, but I died in 1966. My father was a choirmaster and I studied voice and french horn. I first became famous for singing Mozart roles, but later I sang Schubert, Schumann, even Verdi and Wagner. I died in an accident at the age of 35 but left a wealth of recordings. Who am I?
Answer: Tenor Fritz Wunderlich.
Tuesday, September 25
Pianist Glenn Gould was born 80 years ago today, in 1932. He passed away at the age of 50 in 1982. Brilliant and eccentric, Gould specialized in playing and recording music of J.S. Bach. He was also a writer, composer, conductor, and broadcaster. At age 31, he gave up public performances to concentrate on recordings. But earlier, when he was once a soloist with a major symphony orchestra and conductor, the conductor so disagreed with Gould’s interpretation of a concerto that he issued a spoken disclaimer before the performance. Who was the conductor?
Answer: Leonard Bernstein, with the NY Philharmonic, before a performance of Brahms' Piano Concerto #1.
Monday, September 24
Today is the birthday of English composer and conductor, John Rutter, born in London in 1945. He was Director of Music at Clare College from 1975-1979 and founded the Cambridge Singers in 1981. A profile on NBC’s Today show called him “the greatest living composer and conductor of choral music.” One of his earliest Christmas carols begins with the words "Going through the hills on a night all starry. On the way to Bethlehem." What is the name of this Rutter composition?
Answer: Shepherd's Pipe Carol.
Friday, September 21
Today is the birthday of the English composer Gustav Holst, born in 1974. Of Swedish extraction, Gustavus Theodor von Holst dropped the “von” from his name during WWI. He attended the new Royal College of Music in London, studying with Sir Charles Stanford. A classmate was Ralph Vaughan Williams who became a lifelong friend. For almost 30 years, he was the Music Master at the St. Paul's Girls School in London. He wrote two pieces in honor of the school: the St. Paul's Suite and ________? What was the other?
Answer: Brook Green Suite.
Thursday, September 20
Antonio Vivaldi wrote more than 600 concertos for various instruments. His 12 concertos, Op.8, are titled The Contest between Harmony and Invention. The first 4 of those concertos are known by another name? What is that title?
Answer: The Four Seasons.
Wednesday, September 19
What do these pieces of music have in common? Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto #3; Glazunov’s Triumphal March; Stravinsky’s Symphony in C; Walton's Scapino Overture; and Prokofiev’s opera The Love for Three Oranges?
Answer: They all had their world premieres in Chicago!
Tuesday, September 18
A Gilbert & Sullivan question today. At the conclusion of H.M.S. Pinafore, when all the true identities have been revealed, Ralph Rackstraw marries Josephine, the daughter of his former captain. Who does the Captain marry?
Answer: Little Buttercup.
Monday, September 17
Yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center, NY. On that night, Thomas Schippers conducted and Leontyne Price and Justino Diaz starred in the title roles of a new opera written for the occasion. Name the opera and the composer.
Answer: Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber.
Friday, September 14
Tonight, WTTW Channel 11 concludes "Ring Week" with the final music drama of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Die Gotterdammerung. In the final scene of the opera, the Rhinemaidens reclaim the ring of gold. What characters tries to stop them and drowns?
Thursday, September 13
Tonight, WTTW Channel 11 continues "Ring Week" with the third music drama of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Siegfried. In Act II, Siegfried slays the dragon that guards the ring of gold. What is the name of Siegfried's sword?
Wednesday, September 12
Tonight, WTTW Channel 11 continues "Ring Week" with the second music drama of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Die Walkure. In the Met production being seen this week, who sings the role of Brunnhilde, favorite daughter of Wotan?
Answer: Deborah Voigt.
Tuesday, September 11
Tonight, WTTW Channel 11 continues "Ring Week" with the first music drama of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold. When the cycle begins, who is in possession of the golden ring...and who steals it?
Answer: The Rhinemaidens have the ring and Alberich, the dwarf steals it.
Monday, September 10
Tonight, WTTW Channel 11 begins "Ring Week" — devoted to broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Tonight, the introductory documentary film, Wagner's Dream. And then, Tuesday thru Friday: the four music dramas of The Ring. Where (in what city) did Wagner's Ring Cycle have its first complete performance?
Answer: In Bayreuth, in the newly-constructed Festspielhaus, in 1876
Friday, September 07
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1887. I wrote the words—which you're not hearing—that goes with this music. Who am I?
Answer: Dame Edith Sitwell...music by William Walton
Thursday, September 06
Fifteen years ago today, September 6, 1997, millions of people around the world watched the funeral of Britain’s Princess Diana from Westminster Abbey. But that morning’s newspapers were filled with news of the passing of two other world-famous figures the day before, September 5. One was Mother Theresa...who was the other?
Answer: Sir Georg Solti
Wednesday, September 05
Johann Christian Bach, the youngest son of Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach, was born on this date in 1735. His early musical training came from his father, and then his older brother, C.P.E. Bach. JC Bach also studied and lived in Italy for many years and became the organist of the Milan Cathedral. Later he moved to another musical capitol and remained there for the rest of his life. What country became the adopted home of Bach's youngest son?
Tuesday, September 04
Austrian composer Anton Bruckner was born on this date in 1824. Best remembered for his symphonies and his choral music, Bruckner was a shy, retiring, and devout man. He was happiest in the years he was a teacher and organist at the same abbey where he had been a choirboy and where he is now buried. What is the name of this abbey?
Answer: St. Florian's in Sankt Florian, Austria
Friday, August 31
Today is Itzhak Perlman's 67th birthday. After studying in Tel Aviv, he came to New York at the age of 12 to enroll at the Juilliard School. Known as a violinist, conductor, and teacher, Mr. Perlman once appeared in a 1980 "Live from Lincoln Center" telecast with Luciano Pavarotti and Zubin Mehta. In what role did he appear in that telecast?
Answer: He sang the role of the jailer in a performance of Puccini's Tosca. He also recorded the role in 1981
Thursday, August 30
The Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli was born on tomorrow’s date in 1834. An orchestral excerpt from one of his operas had found fame in several pop culture usages—from animated dancing hippos to Spike Jones to a novelty song which was a big hit in the 1960s. Name the excerpt and the opera.
Answer: The Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda
Wednesday, August 29
Who are we? We are three different women but we all have the same name. One of us is an Irish-born mezzo-soprano whose career was centered at the Royal Opera in London. One of us is a Canadian pop music star with more than 50 million records sold. And one of us is the Scottish-born Executive Director of Chicago's International Music Foundation which presents the Dame Myra Hess Concerts and the Do It Yourself Messiah. Who are we?
Answer: Ann Murray
Tuesday, August 28
Who am I? I was born 99 years ago today. I made my Met debut in 1945 in La Gioconda and was one of the leading tenors at the Met for 30 years. Time magazine once called me "the world's greatest Italian tenor." And I'm the only person whose funeral was held on the stage at the Met. Who am I?
Answer: Richard Tucker
Monday, August 27
On yesterday's date in 1927, the John Philip Sousa Band came to Chicago to play for the dedication of a new attraction near the lakefront. This site is still one of Chicago's most popular sites. What was dedicated 85 years ago yesterday?
Answer: Buckingham Fountain
Friday, August 24
Leon Theremin was born on this date in 1896. He was a Russian inventor most famous for the electronic instrument named after him. He played the instrument on a New York Philharmonic concert in 1928. Shostakovich was the first to use the Theremin in a film score, but perhaps the most famous use of that eerie-sounding instrument was in the film Spellbound. Who wrote the score for the film Spellbound?
Answer: Miklos Rozsa
Thursday, August 23
Another question about Claude Debussy today. One of his piano preludes, La Cathedrale Engloutie (The Engulfed Cathedral) references a Breton legend about a land that would rise and fall from the sea. This land is also referenced in an opera by Edouard Lalo. What is the name of this imaginary place?
Answer: Ys...referred to in the opera Le Roi d’Ys
Wednesday, August 22
Today is the 150th birthday of the French composer Claude Debussy—born in St.-Germain-en-Laye in 1862. One of his most famous compostitions, The Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun was inspired by a poem of the same name. Who wrote the poem?
Answer: Stephane Mallarme
Tuesday, August 21
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1893. My mother was a Russian princess who married her teacher at the Paris Conservatory; he was 77 when I was born. Our family friend Gabriel Faure discovered that I had perfect pitch when I was 2. I won the Prix de Rome at the age of 19 but my career was cut short by what is now known as Crohn’s Disease. I died at the age of 24 and was buried at the Montmartre Cemetery. My sister lived for another 61 years before she was buried next to me. Who am I?
Answer: Lili Boulanger
Monday, August 20
This piece of music had its first performance on this date in 1882 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. It was written to commemorate the victory of Russian forces over the invading army of Napoleon. The composer said it would be "...very loud and noisy, but [without] artistic merit, because I wrote it without warmth and without love." What is this composition?
Answer: Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture"
Friday, August 17
The final movement of Beethoven's Symphony #3, the Eroica, (composed in 1804) is a theme and variations. The theme that Beethoven used first appeared in a ballet with music by Beethoven (composed in 1801) about an important figure in Greek mythology. What is this ballet?
Answer: The Creatures of Prometheus.
Thursday, August 16
The 1936 Olympic Games opened on this date in Berlin. Those games are best-remembered for the achievements of American athlete Jesse Owens. He won four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, 4 x 100 relay, and the long jump. Who wrote the Olympic Hymn for the Berlin Olympics?
Answer: Richard Strauss.
Wednesday, August 15
The French composer Jacques Ibert was born on this date in 1890 in Paris. Ibert composed operas, ballets, songs, choral works, chamber music, and incidental music for plays. Perhaps his best-known work is his musical travelogue titled Escales—Ports of Call. It begins with descriptions of Rome and Palermo and concludes with a visit to Valencia. In between it depicts music from Tunisia on the northern coast of Africa. What instrument is used to depict the music of this exotic locale?
Answer: The oboe.
Tuesday, August 14
Yesterday was the anniversary of the opening of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, Richard Wagner's own personal opera house. It was inaugurated with the first complete performance of the Ring Cycle in 1876. (WTTW Channel 11 will be broadcasting the Metropolitan Opera's new Ring Cycle in September.) What is the first opera—the opening drama—of Wagner's Ring Cycle?
Answer: Das Rheingold.
Monday, August 13
Today is the birthday of the great film director Alfred Hitchcock—born in London in 1899. The magazine MovieMaker described him as the most influential filmmaker of all-time and he is widely regarded as one of cinema's most significant artists. In a recent poll conducted by the British Film Institute, a Hitchcock film displaced "Citizen Kane" as the greatest movie of all time. What movie took the top spot?
Answer: "Vertigo" (1958) starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, with music by Bernard Herrmann.
Friday, August 10
Today is the anniversary of the founding of the Proms Concerts in London. The first concert took place on August 10, 1895 in Queens Hall. Now held in Royal Albert Hall, the series of 70 concerts now bears the name of the man who conducted the very first concert on this date in 1895. Who is he?
Answer: Sir Henry Wood
Thursday, August 9
The French composer Reynaldo Hahn was born on this date—in Venezuela!—in 1874. A composer at age 8, he entered the Paris Conservatory at age 10. As a conductor specializing in Mozart, he led the first performances at the Salzburg Festival after WWI. The widow of a famous French composer gave Reynaldo Hahn the score of her husband's unperformed symphony which was then placed in the Paris Conservatory Library—and not discovered there until 1933. Whose symphony was given to Hahn?
Answer: Bizet's Symphony in C
Wednesday, August 8
Act II of Johann Strauss's operetta "Die Fledermaus" contains a party scene which is sometimes filled with gala performances functioning as entertainment at the party. In the operetta, who is throwing the party or ball?
Answer: Prince Orlofsky
Tuesday, August 7
Here’s an English folk song we should have sung—or played on the radio—on Sunday. "It was on the 5th of August / Er the weather fine and fair / Unto [blank] I did repair / For love I was inclined." Fill in the blank. Wither did he repair?
Answer: Brigg Fair
Monday, August 6
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1809 and I am the second most frequently quoted writer—after Shakespeare—in The Oxford Book of Quotations, including "Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all"..."Theirs not to reason why / Theirs but to do and die”..."Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers"...and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new." Who am I?
Answer: Alfred (Lord) Tennyson author of "Ring out," "Wild Bells," "The Charge of the Light Brigade," "Crossing the Bar," and "Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal"
Friday, August 3
Over the years, several authors have commented on the music of Richard Wagner. Oscar Wilde said, "I like Wagner's music better than anybody’s. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time." Mark Twain once said, "Wagner’s music is not as bad as it sounds!" Who said, "I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland."
Answer: Woody Allen
Thursday, August 2
This week's "Who am I?" I was born on this date in 1891. I specialized in music for films and ballet as well as concert music. During WWII I became Director of Music for the BBC. I was knighted in 1950 and was appointed Master of the Queen's Music in 1953. One of my best known works is my Color Symphony—with each movement describing the qualities of a certain color. Who am I?
Answer: Sir Arthur Bliss
Wednesday, August 1
Conductor William Steinberg was born on today’s date in 1899 in Cologne, Germany. A protege of Otto Klemperer, he became the first conductor of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, now the Israel Philharmonic. Later an assistant to Arturo Toscanini, he held posts with the NBC Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His longest tenure—1952-1976—was with what American orchestra?
Answer: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday, July 31
Over the weekend was the birthday of operetta composer Sigmund Romberg, born in what is now Hungary in 1887. As a young man, he moved to the U.S. and got a job playing piano in cafes. Eventually he founded his own orchestra, and then went on to compose "The Student Prince," "The Desert Song," "Rosalie" (with George Gershwin), and "Up in Central Park." A 1954 movie starring Jose Ferrer is based on the life of Sigmund Romberg. What is this film?
Answer: "Deep in My Heart"
Monday, July 30
Today is the birthday of the English pianist Gerald Moore, born in 1899. Moore is best-remembered as the world’s most famous accompanist—especially of singers. He played for Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de los Angeles, Kathleen Ferrier, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and many more. Also a lecturer and author, Gerald Moore wrote several books. The first was "The Unashamed Accompanist." What was the name of his 1962 memoir?
Answer: "Am I Too Loud?—Memoirs of an Accompanist"
Friday, July 27
Tomorrow is the 71st birthday of the Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti. One of the most honored and respected conductors in the world, Maestro Muti had never won a Grammy Award until 2011 when he was awarded two Grammys for a recording made with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. What was the work for which Maestro Muti won his first Grammys?
Answer: "Verdi Requiem" on the CSO Resound label
Thursday, July 26
Another "who am I?" I was born on this date in 1856. I first gained fame as a music critic under the name "Corno di Bassetto." One of the best-known playwrights of the 20th century, I won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And, I remain the only person to win both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize. I also wrote a book about Richard Wagner. Who am I?
Answer: George Bernard Shaw
Wednesday, July 25
Today is the 91st birthday of the legendary former principal trumpet player of the Chicago Symphony orchestra, Adolph “Bud” Herseth. Mr. Herseth played 1st trumpet in the CSO from 1948 until 2001. His tenure spanned the terms of six different CSO music directors. Which CSO music director hired Bud Herseth?
Answer: Artur Rodzinski
Tuesday, July 24
Who am I? I am 65 years old today. When I was 11, I began studying at the Curtis Institute where my father was one of my teachers. My concert career began in 1959 when I played at the Marlboro Festival which was founded by my father, my grandfather, and my great uncle. I've played with all the great orchestras and musicians of the world, and I was one of the founding members of the group Tashi. Who am I?
Answer: Pianist Peter Serkin
Monday, July 23
Soprano Licia Albanese turned 99 years old yesterday. In 1946, Arturo Toscanini chose her to sing the role of Mimi in the NBC broadcasts of "La Boheme." Those broadcasts marked the 50th anniversary of the world premiere of Boheme which was also conducted by Toscanini. Who sang Rodolfo in those 1946 performances?
Answer: Tenor Jan Peerce
Friday, July 20
American astronaut Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon 43 years ago today—July 20, 1969. What French composer wrote an operetta titled "Le Voyage dans la Lune" (A Voyage to the Moon) ?
Answer: Jacques Offenbach
Thursday, July 19
In 1920, a music critic dubbed half-a-dozen young avant-garde French composers as "Les Six." They were: Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Artur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, and one female composer. Who was the feminine component of "Les Six?"
Answer: Germaine Tailleferre
Wednesday, July 18
Yesterday was the birthday of composer, arranger, comedian, and erstwhile radio host, Peter Schickele. Although Mr. Schickele holds degrees from Swarthmore College and the Juilliard School, the music of his alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach, seems to have flourished at a fictitious college in middle America. What is the name of the academic center of PDQ Bach research? Full name required.
Answer: The University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople
Tuesday, July 17
Today is the anniversary of the first performance of Handel's Water Music—a date easy to remember: 7-17-1717! The music was played by 50 musicians whose barge followed the King on the river Thames. The King liked the music so much that he requested that they play it three times over the course of the evening and early morning. What king was serenaded by Handel's music?
Answer: King George I of England
Monday, July 16
Who am I? I was born on yesterday’s date in London, 79 years ago. After studying piano, cello, and composition at the Royal College of Music, I made my debut playing guitar in 1947. In addition to commissioning contemporary works for guitar, I have also tried to revitalize interest in music of the Elizabethan Era. I have won 4 Grammy Awards and I was knighted in 1985. Who am I?
Answer: Julian Bream
Friday, July 13
Yesterday was the 78th birthday of pianist Van Cliburn. He was still studying at the Juilliard School when he won the very first Tchaikovsky International Competition in 1958, thus becoming an American hero of the Cold War era. The very next Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962 saw two pianists share the first prize—both of whom went on to major international careers. Name either one.
Answer: Vladimir Ashkenazy or John Ogden
Thursday, July 12
The American librettist and producer, Oscar Hammerstein II was born on this date in 1895. Hammerstein co-wrote more than 800 songs—with Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, Sigmund Romberg, and with his most famous partner, Richard Rodgers. He won eight Tony awards and two Academy awards. In the 1940s, he became a surrogate father to a young man and helped develop his love for musical theater. This young man also went on to a successful career of writing for Broadway. Who was Oscar Hammerstein’s protege?
Answer: Stephen Sondheim
Wednesday, July 11
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1927 in Springfield, Massachusetts. I studied conducting at the Juilliard School and at Tanglewood. I won the Koussevitsky Conducting Prize and the Salzburg Conducting Competition in the 1950s. I’ve been the music director of several major orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony for eleven years. Who am I?
Answer: Herbert Blomstedt, Swedish conductor, but born in the USA
Tuesday, July 10
The German composer Carl Orff was born on this date in 1895 in Munich. In addition to his composing, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children called Schulwerk. But he is best-remembered for his scenic cantata Carmina Burana, based on 13th-century texts discovered in a Benedictine Abbey in 1803. What are the opening words of Carmina Burana? The first two words are enough.
Answer: O Fortuna—Oh, fortune
Monday, July 9
Today is the birthday of Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, born in Bologna in 1879. His interest in early music led to his suites of Ancient Airs and Dances as well as The Birds. But he is best-known for his Roman Trilogy. What are the three compositions in Respighi’s Roman Trilogy?
Answer: Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, Roman Festivals (Feste Romane)
Friday, July 6, 2012
Tomorrow is the 152nd birthday of Gustav Mahler — but we’re celebrating today! Mahler lived only to the age of 50, leaving his 9th Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde as yet unperformed at his death. Better known as a conductor during his lifetime, Mahler was sure that his compositions would eventually achieve fame. A quotation from a letter written by Mahler expressed this sentiment and has come to be thought of almost as a motto. What is this phrase by Mahler?
Answer: "My time will come."
Thursday, July 5, 2012
American poet Vachel Lindsay, a native of Springfield, IL, wrote the poem “General William Booth Enters into Heaven.” Then, American composer Charles Ives set it to music in 1914. What organization did General William Booth found on this date in 1865 in London?
Answer: The Salvation Army
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
There is no quiz today. Check back tomorrow at 9:00 am for a new quiz.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Tomorrow is Independence Day, the Fourth of July, and we will not have a quiz. On July 4, 1826—the 50th birthday of our nation, and the day that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died—a famous American composer was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. Sometimes known as “the Father of American Music,” he is most remembered for his hundreds of songs. Who is this American composer?
Answer: Stephen Foster
Monday, July 2, 2012
Who am I? I was born on this date in 1940 in Chattanooga, TN where my father was president of the local opera association. I began studying trumpet at the age of 11 before switching to my current instrument. I played in Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Air, and the Kansas City Philharmonic. I also played in the pit for the musical “Oliver” on Broadway. I have held my current position in Chicago since 1966. Who am I?
Answer: Dale Clevenger, principal horn of the CSO
Friday, June 29
Today is the 104th birthday of American composer Leroy Anderson. While still a student at Harvard, he was invited to arrange and composer for the Boston Pops which gave the premieres of most of his famous works. His first attempt at a more serious composition was first performed at the Grant Park Music Festival in 1953, but the work was not published until 1988. What is this work by Leroy Anderson?
Answer: His Piano Concerto, played at GP by Eugene List with the composer conducting
Thursday, June 28
Baritone Thomas Hampson was born on this date in 1955. One of the great singing artists of our time-and a great friend of WFMT, Mr. Hampson has been taking on some heavier baritone roles lately-including Verdi's Macbeth here in Chicago two seasons ago, and another role which he will sing at Santa Fe this summer. What is that role?
Answer: Baron Scarpia in Tosca
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
What do these musical works have in common? Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E, Op.8 #1...Benjamin Britten's Symphony, Op.44...Beethoven's Violin Sonata #5 in F...Schumann's Symphony #1 in Bb, Op.38?
Answer: They all are nicknamed "Spring."
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Yesterday marked the 102nd anniversary of the world premiere of the ballet The Firebird. Based on Russian folk tales of a magical glowing bird, The Firebird also marked the beginning of the collaboration between Stravinsky and Serge Diaghilev that would produce two more famous ballets in the next three years. What were those next two Diaghilev/Stravinsky productions?
Answer: Petrushka and The Rite of Spring
Monday, June 25
There is no quiz today. Check back tomorrow for a new quiz.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Join Carl from 6:00-10:00 am Tuesday, December 25, as he celebrates the holiday season with music.
Bidding Bell of St. Paul's Cathedral, London (0:55)
Trad: Come, Thou Redeemer of the Earth (4:05)
St. Paul's Cathedral Cho;Dearnley,o;English Brass Ens/Scott
Carillon of Midnight, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris (1:05)
Trad: Hodie Christus natus est (1:05)
Gruber: Stille Nacht (3:30)
Notre Dame Cathedral Cho;Cochereau,o;ens/Revert
|FY CD 006|
Trad: Venite/Bell peal/Introit (8:35)
Schola Cantorum, St. Peter's in the Loop/Thompson
|Imaginary Rd. 528 869-2|
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll (18:15)
|DG 435 883-2|
Britten: Procession/Wolcum Yule fr Ceremony of Carols (2:40)
Women of Shaw Ch Singers/Shaw
Bach: fr Christmas Oratorio – Pastorale/Cho Break forth (6:05)
Atl SO & Cho/Shaw
Respighi: Adoration of the Magi fr Botticelli Triptych (8:45)
St. Paul Ch Orch/Wolff
Joubert: Torches (1:35)
Cho-King's College, Cambridge/Willcocks
|Lon 444 848-2|
Trad. Italian: How unto Bethlehem (1:15)
Trad. English: How far is it to Bethlehem? (1:55)
Vivaldi: fr Gloria in D, RV 589–Gloria in excelsis/Domine Deus (6:25)
Upshaw,s;Atl SO & Cho/Shaw
Trad: Personent Hodie (2:50)
Victoria: O Magnum Mysterium (4:00)
His Majestie's Clerkes/Heider
Trad. French: Noel, Noel, Bells are Ringing (2:20)
Trad. Ukrainian: Carol of the Bells (1:30)
Trad. French: Ding Dong Merrily on High (1:50)
Trad. German: In dulci jubilo (3:15)
|Lon 417 898-2|
arr. Bach: In dulci jubilo (1:55)
arr. Praetorious: In dulci jubilo (2:10)
Guttler Brass Ens
Bach: fr Cantata #140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme–Opening cho/final cho (8:05)
Gachinger Kantorei;Bach Ens-Stuttgart/Rilling
|Hanssler set Vol. 44|
Mendelssohn/arr. Willcocks: Hark the Herald Angels Sing (3:40)
Bach Cho;Ashton Brass;Scott,organ/Willcocks
Rutter: What Sweeter Music (4:15)
Cambridge Singers;London Sinfonia/Rutter
Hopkins: We Three Kings (3:10)
Trad. French: March of the Three Kings (1:15)
Shaw Ch Singers/Shaw
Lully: March of the Turenne Regiment (1:40)
|Nonesuch LP H-1009|
Bizet: Farandole fr L'Arlesienne incidental music (3:25)
|DG 431 778-2|
Anon. Spanish: Canta, Rie, Bebe (3:00)
Las Avemarianas Children's Cho;orch
|Phil LP PHS 600-036|
Gruber: Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (3:35)
Bach: In dir ist Freude (3:00)
Trad. English: Joy to the World (1:50)
Berlin: White Christmas (with white Christmas data/forecast) (2:50)
Goss: See amid the winter's snow (4:00)
Cho-King's College, Cambridge/Willcocks
|Lon 444 848-2|
various: Vom Himmel hoch sequence fr several composers (5:30)
Schein: Vom Himmel hoch (1:30)
Guttler Brass Ens
Trad. Afr-American/arr.Heider: Go Tell It on the Mountain (2:20)
His Majestie's Clerkes/Heider
Kirkpatrick/arr.Willcocks: Away in a Manger (2:25)
|Lon 417 898-2|
Trad: O Come, All Ye Faithful (4:10)
Bach Cho;Ashton Brass;Scott,organ/Willcocks
Holst: Christmas Day (6:35)
Handel: fr Messiah–For unto us a child is born thru Glory to God (8:50)
Auger,s;English Concert & Cho/Pinnock
|Arc 423 630-2|
Trad. Afr-Amer/arr.Jennings: Medley of Christmas Spirituals (6:25)
Trad: Te Deum Laudamus (Solemn tone with handbells) (5:55)
Adam: Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) (4:15)
|Lon 433 010-2|
Hairston: Mary's Boy Child (3:35)
|DG 457 357-2|
Ives: A Christmas Carol (Little Star of Bethlehem) (2:05)
Bach: fr Christmas Oratorio,BWV 248–Final cho (Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen) (3:10)
Leipzig Radio Cho;Dresden St. Orch/Schreier [Guttler,tr]
|Phil 475 9155|
Trad. English: We wish you a Merry Christmas (1:00)
Philadelphia Brass Ens